Grub Food Van has become our favourite dog friendly dinner place in the last few months. It is a warm, welcoming, funky hippy place, filled with greenery, love and amazingly good food. It is more well known as a brunch/lunch place, but their dinner menu is sophisticated and modern, and though it seems to be a random mish-mash of cuisines, boy do they do it well. And to top it all off, GFV is dog friendly (in both the indoor AND outdoor areas!)
Words cannot describe how unique this place is: The outside area has a weird trailer park feel (most probably walk in thinking they have the wrong address).The floors are covered with plastic middle eastern rugs, the tables and chairs are old patio furniture repainted bright colours, and is topped off with a strange army camouflage leafy netting that envelops the area. Not to mention the singular food van that seems to be ready to receive anyone/anything that might beam down from outer-space at any moment.The inside area isn’t any less strange. I would describe it as a cross between Bimbo (Yes, the pizza place on Brunswick street that is filled with baby dolls dressed up in S&M gear), a garden garage sale from the 1970s held in a greenhouse.
Dog friendliness rating: Excellent
Shared space for dogs and humans: Great. As mentioned above, dogs are allowed in both the indoor and outdoor area, so Grub Food Van is good for all seasons. If your dog struggles with hot weather, I would recommend you come when it is slightly cooler in the evenings and sit outside. This is the only dinner place we currently know of that has an indoor dog friendly area.
Personal space for dogs: The indoor and outdoor areas are very spacious. There isn’t much space under the tables, but there is sufficient space between tables and in the surrounds.
Dog loving staff: The place can be quite busy, but the staff are at heart dog lovers.
Dog amenities: Dog bowls and, yes free dog treats! are always offered.
Bonus: The place is also very kid friendly.
On to the amazing food…Grub Food Van’s menu changes often. But so far we’ve have had:
– Coconut chicken salad with peanuts, kaffir lime leaf, chilli, coconut dressing: This was a light refreshing dish. A good dish to throw into the mix if you have other heavy dishes
– sautéed chicken livers with hazelnut, port poached pear, frisee and queso valdeon salad: This was a standout dish. The livers were cooked well, well seasoned and the accompaniments chosen were perfectly complimentary. A must have!
– braised lamb shoulder with Israeli couscous, glazed carrots and bbq garlic chives: The other standout dish in our opinion. Not your typical lamb shoulder, this one is more dark and earthy rather than being tomato based or citrus matched. The crunchy baby carrots done rustic adds the texture balance.
– Rustic Chicken pie: Best chicken pie I’ve ever had. Seriously creamy, cheesy chicken casserole filling encased in buttery pastry (not too flaky, juust right!)
– scallop ceviche with lime, chilli, toasted coconut on betal leaf: A refreshing dish, perfect for summer or as a starter.
– grilled sardine bruschetta with tomato compote, capers and lemon: I’ve been to some (expensive) Spanish tapas places where they actually serve marinated sardines in the can with a few pieces of crusty bread on the side?! I was pleased when this dish consisted of proper whole small fresh sardines, grilled nicely and served with the right citrus. Good with vino 😉
– Assam curry of barramundi with okra & tomato, crispy lentil and fried curry leaves: If you know what Assam curry tastes like, you will be disappointed as GFV’s version of assam curry is neither sour nor spicy. But it is nonetheless tasty with perfectly fried barramundi, served with a thick (from the okra) dahl like sauce. A good dish to order if you want a lighter main dish.
– pan seared scallops in curried soup: served in a pool of curry lobster bisque-like liquid gold
From the garden
– triple cooked chips with native spice salt and bush tomato sauce: If you watch enough cooking competition reality TV shows, triple cooked chips are often not worth the effort. The chips were decent, but I do still prefer my auntie’s humble par boiled potatoes finished off in the oven with rosemary and olive oil.
– roasted half broccoli with otway shiitake, whipped tofu, shaved broccoli, black vinegar & Sichuan chilli dressing: To be honest, I am partial to any half/whole roasted broccoli or cauliflower, despite how overpriced they are. This is a good main if you are vego/vegan, or a good side if you are sharing. A bit on the fusion side, but trust me – the creamy, tangy and spicy sauce wraps up the roasted broccoli in a perfect red bow.
– broccolini with whipped tofu with amazing fried bacon bits
I also hear that Grub Food Van serves some amazing cocktails, so I am keen to go back to try this. And also to explore their brunch food 🙂 It’s gonna be hard to keep away once you’ve tried this place!
Hope you try the place!